The Lionel Messi effect on U.S. soccer

Today there is a player in the spotlight, and who has left, little or much to MLS, we speak of the Lionel Messi effect on U.S. Soccer.

Lionel Messi effect on U.S. Soccer, not only in Major League Soccer, has quantifiable repercussions.

In the future it will surely be seen as the defining moment for local soccer, but also for U.S. sports in general.

While it is true that the U.S. soccer league had been growing steadily, with 9% more ticket sales in 2023 than the previous year, according to Forbes, Messi’s impact is undeniable.

Thus, we could point out that Lionel Messi’s effect on U.S. soccer can be measured this season, with ticket sales already up 15% over the previous one, according to MLS data collected by Sportico.


Another aspect is that the jersey of the ’10’ became the best-selling jersey in the league, according to Forbes, and this season continues to be number one.

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The Lionel Messi effect on U.S. soccer

On social media, the number of followers of the MLS account on TikTok grew 26% and engagement on Instagram posts jumped 50% after Messi’s signing, according to Forbes.

And this a lot has to do with the age of the average soccer fan in the United States. According to the same source, MLS has the youngest and most diverse fans in U.S. sports, “with an average age of 37.4 years old, 67% so-called Generation Z and Millennial, 77% digital natives and 31% Hispanic.”

Another aspect of the Lionel Messi effect on U.S. soccer is that, according to Gallup’s survey, soccer ranks fourth among favorite sports to watch by Americans.

In fact, it is only 5% ahead of traditional sports such as soccer (41%), baseball (10%) and basketball (9%).

Gallup points out that, between 1937 and 2004, less than 2% named soccer as their favorite sport.

That speaks to steady growth since then, fueled first by the creation of MLS and its first season in 1996 and also by an increasingly strong Latino market in the country.

That speaks to a steady growth since then, driven first by the creation of MLS and its first season in 1996 and also by an increasingly strong Latino market in the country.

The expansion of MLS has been such that it will add 30 teams by 2025, with the debut of the San Diego franchise. And as a star player they have already secured a Latin player, the Mexican Hirving Lozano.

MLS, according to the Sportico website, reported that the Spanish-speaking audience for Inter Miami matches exceeds 50%.

The Florida team’s first preseason game this year against El Salvador was only available on the MLS website.

Messi’s entry into U.S. soccer is a milestone marking Generation Z and millennials, as well as Hispanic audiences as fuel, joining the Copa America and World Cup in 2026.

The Lionel Messi effect in U.S. soccer could make a bigger impact beyond the U.S. and challenge traditional sports like baseball and basketball for the top spot.


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